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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA campus safety is questioned

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Owen Forest
Owen Forest / The Daily Wildcat Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority House on 10.26.14

There have been multiple reported incidents of assault against women on campus, raising the question of overall campus safety.

The University of Arizona Police Department released a Campus Watch report on Sunday around 5 p.m. regarding an assault incident that occurred earlier in the day at 1:30 p.m. According to the report, a female UA student was walking near 1100 E. Lowell St. when an unknown man approached her from behind, grabbing her and punching her. As a result, she was knocked down; the woman defended herself by kicking and punching the man until he ran away. According to the report, the suspect is described as a 20- to 30-year-old male with short, brown spikey hair who was wearing jeans.

On Oct. 21, Sheridan Fidelman, a journalism sophomore, was harassed by a homeless man in the parking lot outside her sorority house, Alpha Epsilon Phi, on Mountain Avenue.

Fidelman held out her phone to show the man the time per his request while maintaining her distance. She said the man frantically seized her upper arm as she drew her arm back to continue on her way.

Fidelman said she believed the man to not be in his right mind, and her observations dictated her reaction.

“I was scared he had a weapon on him,” Fidelman said. “So, I just calmly tried to stand still.”

She said she escaped the man’s grasp and ran inside her sorority house to inform her house mother.

Fidelman’s attack occurred within visibility of other students and cars that drove past her, but she said no one intervened.

“If I saw anyone, even if I knew them or not, I would have definitely jumped out and been, like, ‘Are you OK?’ at least, even if that was rude,” Fidelman said.

Later that night, Fidelman saw the same homeless man near the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.

According to the UA 2014 Annual Campus Safety, Security and Fire Safety report, there were nine reported forcible sex offenses on campus and 19 reported forcible sex offenses off campus.

Sgt. Filbert Barrera, public information officer for the UAPD, said the campus police department needs students to understand that if they see or hear of anything weird, to inform UAPD immediately.

Barrera said the UAPD needs information from students even if the scenario includes overhearing an unusual story and witnessing an incident that seems peculiar.

The same week of Fidelman’s attack, two female students reported unrelated assaults.

Cierra Vollmer, a journalism sophomore, said in a statement to News 4 Tucson that a man who was dripping in sweat tried to enter the front door of her Pi Beta Phi sorority house soliciting sexual favors, requested to look inside their refrigerator and made sexual hand motions.

The Pi Beta Phi sorority sisters were contacted regarding this story and were unable to comment due to the ongoing investigation.

The other incident involved an unidentified female UA student around Park Avenue and Mabel Street, according to a police report.

Sgt. Peter Dugan, Tucson Police Department spokesman, said a man drove up beside the female student and asked for directions.

The student reported to police officers that the man was naked, and he reached out toward her from the driver’s seat to the passenger window where she stood before he drove away.

The case was forwarded to the Adult Sexual Assault Detail, as the investigation continues.

Lori Shaffer, a public health junior, was unaware of the three separate campus assaults and wondered why the stories hadn’t circulated around campus following the assaults.

“Why weren’t people, like, ‘Hey, watch out for that truck [or] car! There is a naked guy running around,’” Shaffer said.

Barrera said UAlerts sent to subscribers are designated for specific immediate threats, such as natural disasters, active harm and incidents involving immediate danger to an individual or by an armed person.

Timely notification to police is important in order to notify the UA Campus Emergency Response Team. UACERT issues UAlerts.

UACERT determines each incident on a case-by-case basis in order for students and staff to not become desensitized to the text messages by UAlerts.

“We really want people to understand that they have a police department on campus, which is specifically for them,” Barrera said.

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Follow Anna Ludlum on Twitter.

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